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Robelinda2: The unfortunate end of a well-liked YouTube channel dedicated to cricket | Written by Geoff Lemon


If you’ve stumbled upon a piece about cricket online, chances are you’ve come across a Rob Moody video at some point. Whether it was shared in a group chat or a thread of comments, his YouTube links tend to pop up everywhere. You may have seen a montage of Damien Martyn’s impressive drives, with the frame flipped to make him appear as a left-hander. Or perhaps a compilation of Steve Waugh’s run outs. Maybe even an hour-long showcase of the West Indies’ confident play from a 1988 Test match.

The title of the video may have been written in all caps, expressing excitement and declaring the clip as either hilarious or a work of genius. It may have also been described as “old gold,” which is a high compliment from Rob. This was usually an accurate description of the content. The creator, who initially started an archive of every televised cricket match in Australia as a personal hobby, has now edited and uploaded thousands of hours of footage for the pleasure of countless viewers.

The YouTube channel known as Robelinda2 has been deliberately deleted. It was recently taken down by YouTube due to a sudden influx of copyright complaints from seemingly nonexistent companies, all in a short period of time. These companies appeared to only have a presence online and lacked any substantial existence.

During a video call with The Final Word podcast, Moody seems fatigued. He explains that he was driving from Albany to Fremantle in Western Australia and had no reception due to fires in the area. He received multiple notifications but was unable to access his channel due to poor internet connection. Upon arriving in Fremantle, he realized that his channel had disappeared.

With it goes public access to a swathe of cricket history that neither the relevant boards nor broadcasters have shown the interest or ability to make available. Cricket Australia is just now catching up, launching a vintage channel two weeks ago whose name of Cricket Gold seems to borrow from Moody, but it is restricted to Samsung devices for those who know where to look, rather than the global availability and algorithmic boost of YouTube.

Robelinda2 did more than just post an hour of match footage online. He carefully selected and compiled unique clips that showcased the unusual and comical aspects of cricket, including obscure moments that he remembered and extracted from full days of play. Unlike traditional highlight reels that focus solely on shots and wickets, Robelinda2 shared entire overs or innings, including the commentary and breaks between deliveries. This allowed viewers to fully immerse themselves in matches from decades ago.

Many players relied solely on Robelinda2 to reminisce about their accomplishments. Moody shares that Dean Jones reached out to him shortly before his death, inquiring about his twin hundreds against Pakistan in 1989. Moody quickly responded and uploaded the footage within five minutes.

Operating a channel that features archived content from taped television carries potential risks. In the past, Moody has faced numerous copyright objections, despite the fact that the footage was not being utilized by any organizations and only served to increase the game’s visibility. Despite not profiting from his channel, Moody has faced challenges in maintaining a delicate balance. His channel, named Robelinda2 after the original Robelinda was shut down years ago, has since found a way to navigate these challenges.

“When the cricket boards have taken action against the channel, it has generally been satisfactory. They typically pinpoint the issue and determine a course of action,” he explains. “You can easily find footage from the 80s and 90s, but they tend to be stricter on anything from the 2000s onwards… I attempted to upload a brief clip of Ian Bell’s cover drive at the SCG in January 2011, but it was blocked while still in the process of uploading.”

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If he is unable to restore the channel, he will not continue with a third attempt. Instead, he is attempting to be philosophical about it. “I am okay with it. Fourteen years is a significant amount of time,” he states. “It’s remarkable that it has never been shut down in all those years… It’s strange that it suddenly disappeared without warning.” However, there is still a hint of disbelief in his tone. It’s like a miniature version of death – you know it will happen eventually, but it’s always unexpected when it actually occurs.

It is frustrating for both Moody and the numerous individuals who have expressed sympathy and encouragement to see how easily a cultural establishment can be brought down by something that is the complete opposite: a small and insignificant entity known as Marhaba Sports India, which only has five Twitter followers, six on Instagram, and a desolate website that appears to have been hastily created using outdated HTML software.

Complainants are not required to provide proof of copyright ownership, although most do not have this proof. However, YouTube’s process for addressing copyright strikes is automated, and once initiated, the accused party can only reverse it by proving their ownership. This puts the burden solely on the accused. Many large technology companies limit their hiring of support staff, so seeking help often leads to a frustrating cycle of FAQs, chatbots, and forums where other users try to answer each other’s questions, similar to patients in an emergency room attempting to triage themselves. While YouTube gladly accepts the millions of views from Moody, there is no one available to assist when a problem arises.

Unfortunately, he has suffered greater losses than the rest of us. It is particularly disheartening that there are videos on the platform that held little significance to others, but held great value to him. He had uploaded numerous unlisted videos, such as footage of his children when they were young, as YouTube is a convenient medium for storing content. There are countless other videos on his channel that have yet to be viewed by anyone. He even had a video showcasing every cut shot played by David Boon in his international cricket career, in chronological order.

Source: theguardian.com